Understanding Military Resume Terminology


4 Resources to More Effectively Review Military Qualifications

Have you ever gotten a resume from a Veteran candidate that almost seemed like it was written in another language? The military is known for it’s rampant use of acronyms and jargon, which can be confusing and difficult to understand.  Because this terminology is used in daily military life, Service members tend to write and speak using military terminology without consciously realizing it. As Service members transition to the private sector, they often include military jargon or acronyms on their resumes to further highlight their expertise and accomplishments. Human resources professionals often have difficulty evaluating these qualifications and may overlook a potentially qualified candidate due to the use of these acronyms and jargon. There are, however,  several resources available to assist in translating Veteran resume qualifications into their private sector equivalents.  Here are four resources that can help make understanding Service member resumes easier.

1. Department of Defense Acronym and Military Terms Dictionary
The Department of Defense regularly publishes an updated version of all the acronyms and terminology used across all branches of the military. According to this all-inclusive document, it “sets forth standard US military and associated terminology to encompass the joint activity of the Armed Forces of the United States.” At almost 400 pages long with thousands of phrases and acronyms, it is the most comprehensive list of current military terminology available.  The Dictionary is updated regularly, and can be found here.

2. Military Skills Translators and Crosswalks
There are several military skills translators available to assist in increasing the understanding of the skills, expertise, training, and related business areas that align with the thousands of military occupations.   Some of these crosswalks are designed for employers and others are designed to assist Service members in writing their own resumes.  Each of the translator tools is unique and offers different benefits to the employer.  Our exclusive Skills Translator Database, for example, includes an overview of the occupation, associated training and certifications, skill levels, and alignment of skills to business areas, and is written in easily accessible business terminology.  These tools can help you identify and understand the candidate’s military job and how it can support your business needs.

3. Military Websites
Many websites offer information about the military that can be useful to hiring staff. There are several popular ones, like www.military.com  that that have additional resources available to help understand military applicants. You can also go to the individual services’ websites, such as www.navy.mil, www.army.mil, www.af.mil, and www.marines.mil, to look up military occupations and terminology.

4. Veteran Employees/Military Recruiter
You might already have a Veteran or a Military Recruiter on your team that can help decipher Veteran resumes. These team members typically are experienced in working with the military and understanding their unique acronyms and language.  If you do not have an internal resource that can assist, many local and state workforce and employment exchanges (as well as non-profit organizations) can provide assistance to support reviewing Service member resumes.

Don’t be intimidated by the military terminology on prospective job candidate’s resume.  By doing a bit of research to better understand how military skill sets fit into your position needs, you increase the chance of finding your next best employee.

What tools and resources have you found that work well for your organization?  We welcome the chance to learn more and share your successes!